Chevalier Tayler, born in Leytonstone, earned a scholarship to the Slade and then studied in Paris. He arrived in Newlyn in 1884 where he was soon at the heart of the artists’ community. He was immediately popular, always being invited out to dinner because he was such good company! In 1887 a London dealer paid for him to go and paint in Venice.
He returned to Newlyn in 1888, the year he painted this picture. Characteristic Newlyn works showed the lives of the local community, but there was a growing interest in historical subjects. Evidently Tayler had access to costumes of high quality; and he relishes every detail in the subtle tones of this outfit. Tayler painted other Elizabethan scenes- and Newlyn colleague Frank Bourdillon painted similar duelists at this time also.
Seven years later, Tayler moved to London, where he concentrated more on portraiture, becoming a Royal Academician. There are works by him in Penlee, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Preston art galleries, the Imperial War Museum, The Guildhall and elsewhere.